Julian (The Film Seeker)’s review published on Letterboxd:
Introducing Sean Baker as one of “contemporary American independent cinema’s greatest storytellers” may have been a statement I slightly scoffed at when the announcer at the screening made that assertion, but by the end of Red Rocket, I have to make peace with the fact that Baker’s sympathetic examination of the trashiest corners of America is in a league of its own. Tangerine’s presentation may have been obnoxious beyond my own personal preferences, but everything before or since then has left me nothing short of stunned.
What makes Baker such a compelling figure is his uncanny ability to remind us that for every repeat Trump voter and anti-vaxxer that emerges from the dustiest sections of the United States, there are just as many victims of circumstance who deserve our understanding rather than our dismissal… Mikey Saber is not one of these people.
Simon Rex’s show-stopping performance brings a much-needed attraction to such a reprehensible character. From the first time he opens his mouth, Rex makes it very clear that Saber is no victim of circumstance, but is rather the perpetrator. Every fibre of my being wants to see this guy wind up in a ditch somewhere, and yet, through this one performance and Baker’s colourful eye, the saga of Red Rocket is nothing short of vibrant and stomach-churning in equal measure.
If nothing else, any movie this focused on donuts that screens at a theatre next to one of the only Krispy Kremes in town is doing something right.